Former Plymouth navy officer not guilty of two sex offences

  • Published
Emma and Charles Howeson
Image caption,
Howeson's wife, Emma, said friends and former colleagues were "convinced" of his innocence

A former senior naval officer who committed a string of indecent assaults against men in the 1980s and 90s has been acquitted of further charges.

Charles Howeson, 68, from Plymouth, was last year found guilty of 10 indecent assaults against eight men.

Earlier, a jury at Bristol Crown Court acquitted him of serious sexual assault and indecent assault against a ninth complainant.

He was granted bail until sentencing next Friday.

Judge Mark Horton adjourned sentencing after hearing from Daniel Janner QC, defending, that Howeson had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer and was due to begin chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

During the trial last year, the court heard Howeson used his position of authority in the Royal Navy and in the Plymouth Area Groundwork Trust charity to commit the offences.

The jury had failed to reach verdicts on the two outstanding charges, of which he has now been acquitted.

Howeson, of Craigie Drive, Plymouth, denied all charges and intends to appeal against his convictions.

He was a commander in the navy and has also held high profile business positions including with the Consumer Council for Water and First Great Western Trains.

Image source, SWNS
Image caption,
Charles Howeson served in the Royal Navy between 1967-1991

In a statement made outside court, his wife Emma Howeson, said: "I completely believe in my husband of 40 years and we both want to thank our legal team and all the family, friends and former colleagues that have made very clear they are convinced of Charles's innocence.

"We will continue the fight to clear his name, and we are appealing the convictions of last December," she added.